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  1. Frances Raybon says:

    I am loving your book and really loving your podcasts and ideas for character development. I have 10 and 7 year old boys. Do you have specific ideas for podcasts / books for their age? I also have a 1 year old, so I don’t have a ton of time to read out loud to them. Thanks!

    1. I loved using Adventures in Odyssey audio stories for my boys at that age. Otherwise, I do encourage you to read to them while holding or playing with the baby. Audio books are great as well! And get them reading good books on their own as much as possible. (A podcast episode sharing some of my favorite books for boys of all ages is coming soon!)

  2. Monica,
    Thank you so much for this information! I had prayed to the Lord a couple of day ago and asked him to give me something for character building for my teenage boys. Before i read this article, I heard the book of Proverbs and then I asked my daughter if she still had the book that my adult son gave her called…How to win friends and influence people.
    i was lead to this article and everything was confirmed! Thank You and God Bless!

    1. Amazing, thank you for sharing that Bridget!! Big hugs and blessings and hope to continue to encourage you through what i share! XO

  3. Leonora Found says:

    Monica Swanson – when I grow up (I am 47 years old) I want to be like you. Seriously! Infact, I wish I knew of you when I started my parenting journey 17 years ago. I love your ideas. I love your energy. I love your faith. And I love modern technology that allows you to bring such encouragement to every corner of the globe. Please come to London so I can pick every aspect of your mother’s brain. 🙂 🙂 And thank you for sharing so much of your life with so many. You are a true example of living God’s purposes. Ps. I had an idea before reading your post today that we as a family were going to have a character goal for each week – a motto to go on our fridge – something we could focus on as a family. i.e. Kindness. This week we are practicing words of kindness to each other. There are penalties for unkind words which currently involve an act of kindness on the day to the person who was on the receiving end of the unkind words. Next week we will do something different.

    1. Leonora — That was incredibly kind!! Thank you so much. Sounds to me like you’re already doing pretty well, but I am flattered. 😉 I’d love to come to London–I’ll add that to my book tour (in my dreams anyways!) Love your family’s weekly character goal plan. Brilliant! Keep it up and keep in touch. You’re a gem. Aloha!

  4. Love this so much Monica! i don’t have teens yet but would love to start this for our summer. Any idea of a list of resources for younger children? Most specifically 9, 10 year old boys.

    1. Thank you Meredith! Oh, hmmm, I’d love to get a list together and get back to you. (I’ll try…) but meanwhile my best suggestion is to start by reading some good stories together and discussing the character qualities you find along the way. I’m reading Chronicles of Narnia with my 8 and 14 yr. old and we chat often about the things that come up in the story. Most older books (I’m a fan of classic lit.) will provide you with lots of character-rich conversations. But, yes…will still try to work on a list fro that age range! much aloha-

  5. This came at the perfect time. Will definitely be looking into these books for my 14 year old son. Thank you.

  6. April Newcomb says:

    Have you heard of the Lamplighter books? They are all centered around Christlike character.


    They are great moral and character holding stories!

    1. Yes! Just listened to our first Lamplighter (audio) book! Super good. Thank you! 🙂

  7. I love the idea of this. How old are your kids that are doing this? My son is 11 and I’m always looking for teachable moments about character. But I’d never get him to read a 7 habits book! I may need short stories and books or blog posts. But I think he would benefit from reading short atories about a child his age that he could relate to and see, from the outside looking in, the lesson or flaw or moral…etc

    1. Thank you Kim. Yes, you are right– it has to be age appropriate to be effective. My boys are 16 and 14. The 14 year old is doing well with these books though going through them slower.
      For younger boys I love stories with characters that inspire. I have a post with a list of books my boys are reading, most of which have a moral lesson or at least characters that are good role models. Here is a link to that post: https://monicaswanson.com/what-my-boys-have-been-reading/
      I intend to have a more complete list up on the blog eventually–but you might find a couple good ones in that post. 🙂

  8. Great inspiring post Monica! Thank you 🙂

  9. Do hard things- amazing book written by two teenage boys.
    I love hearing there are moms out there concerned about character. Gives me hope for my girls future husbands! Thank you

  10. Sheena Carnie says:

    What a great idea, thanks Monica! Will make a plan to put this into action for my boys too.

  11. I love this, it reminds me of an interview I heard years ago on a talk-radio show with Dr. James Dobson. He had a guest who was a pastor and he paid his kids to read biblical material as they got into their teens. At first I thought this sounded too much like bribery, but he went on to explain that it was rather a reward for doing a “job” well done, like a chore or anything else we compensate our kids for. After reading each book, they had to write up a couple of paragraphs explaining what they got out of the book. The dad would then give them $5-$10, depending on the length and level of mature reading and the quality of their response. I’m definitely trying this with my 3 older kids (12, 13, 16). I’m excited to see what grows from this experience! Thanks again 🙂

  12. Susie Andrei says:

    I love this idea so much!! My kids are only 9 and 7 but I’ve been collecting books for my 9 year old already. I will absolutely make most of the books by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud mandatory reading for this purpose when my kids are old enough to read them. They are the best books on character I’ve read and they changed my life. I would start with “Boundaries” and move on to “Never Go Back”, “How People Grow”, and the rest. I’m surprised you put “How to Win Friends and Influence People” on a list about character though… I think that book condones flattery which I wouldn’t really see as a positive character trait?

    1. Susie– Thank you for the comment! I also have loved “Boundaries” and should add that to my boys list for sure! I haven’t read “Never Go Back” or “How People Grow”– looks like I’ll add those to MY list as well! 🙂
      Have you read “How to Win Friends and Influence People”? I actually thought I wouldn’t like it for the same reason but when I started going through it I realized that it actually has some super good principles in it. I see what you’re saying, but I suppose it depends on how you look at it. And to be fair–I only read the first two sections and then my son started in, so I ought to go back and read more. My son really liked it though and he’s pretty sensitive to things that aren’t in alignment with the good character (and Biblical) teaching we have taught him. Anyways–love hearing from you and thanks!! 🙂 Aloha-

  13. I love the idea of this, but for my teens I just cannot imagine adding another thing to their day. I see what you mean though–this may be more important than other things that they are doing…Wish I could add hours to a day! 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration. Glad it’s going well for your boys.

  14. Love this. Great books on the list and a great idea for a daily reading habit for teens!

  15. I really appreciate the intentionality of this. It’s one thing to make suggestions on areas kids (teens) can work on their character, but when they have to sit and read about it in a book (and not from parents) I see where they are much more likely to pick up things on their own. It is more their own thing. I will be adding many of these books to my son’s list as he is nearing his teen years! Thank you.